N’awlins: where the locals bury their loved ones above ground, give directions in relation to the lake and river, and end sentences with “dat” (see what I did there). It is the original melting pot with the territory being sold between the French, Spanish, and U.S. during the 1700s and 1800s. Stories of voodoo, vampires, and all things mystical have sustained a thriving tour industry and inspired numerous tv shows and movies. With a myriad of activities it is a destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties, foodies, and families. Mark and I recently returned from New Orleans after a three day visit and wanted to share a suggested itinerary with some of our favorites.
Stay in the Garden District, a charming area with a plethora of restaurants, shopping, and popular activities within walking distance. Hotel Indigo is located at the cusp on St. Charles Ave and Jackson Ave. The intersection is also a stop along the St. Charles Streetcar line which is the oldest continuously streetcar line in the world. If you want more of a southern comfort stay, visit Sully Mansion or the Henry Howard Hotel on Prytania St.
Have lunch at Turkey and the Wolf, an eccentric, hipster sandwich eatery off of Jackson Ave. Spend the afternoon browsing the many antique shops, boutiques, and novelty stores along Magazine Street. Defend New Orleans has locally themed apparel, books and mementos. Zele is a multi-vendor art market with unique regional inspired crafts. Dunn and Sonnier is an antique, floral and gift shop. Enjoy an Arnold Palmer with hibiscus from Hey! Cafe to help cool down. Eat dinner at Compere Lapin, a Caribbean Italian restaurant, located in the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery. End your evening in the French Quarter with a drink at French 75 or Old Absinthe House, a 200+ year old bar.
Explore more of the neighborhood with the Self Guided Garden District Tour by Free Tours by Foot. Pay homage to Anne Rice by visiting her house. Be sure to stop by the Lafayette Cemetery which is free and open to the public for an unrestricted visit of the cemetery.
Take a break from the heat to have a refreshing lunch at Shaya, an Israeli restaurant. You will want to try everything, so order several salatim dishes and small plates to share. The food was perfect for a hot afternoon; refreshing and clean but filling.
With an umbrella in tow, join Ernie’s Cemetery History Tour to visit the St. Louis Cemetery NO. 1. Ernie was witty and shared several interesting facts about New Orleans. Snap a photo of Nic Cage’s pyramid tomb and visit Marie Laveau (but don’t write on her grave).Check out some live music at The Spotted Cat Music Club or d.b.a. If you want to venture off the beaten path, catch an Uber or Lyft to Bacchanal Wine for food, wine, and live music in their courtyard.
Start with breakfast at Willa Jean or brunch at Atchafalaya Restaurant to fuel for the day. Beat the heat by visiting New Orleans Museum of Art, the oldest fine arts museum in the city. Rent a kayak to explore Big Lake or take a stroll around City Park. Stop by Ace Hotel New Orleans for a pick-me-up at Stumptown Coffee, pre-dinner drinks at the lobby bar, or people watching at Alto. Wrap up your trip with dinner at Peche. Order the Spanish inspired seafood crab claws with pickled chilies to start and the fish special of the day paired fried brussels sprouts with chili vinegar, marinated, tomato, cucumber, and zucchini.
What are some of your favorite places to visit in New Orleans? Share in the comments!